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NF Edition #537 - 12/23/16
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Highlights this week...

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Federal Reserve Payments Study Highlights Strong Trends in Card Use
Federal Reserve | 12.22.16

From 2012 to 2015, credit and debit (including prepaid and non-prepaid) card payments continued to gain ground in the payments landscape, accounting for more than two-thirds of all core noncash payments in the United States, according to a Federal Reserve study of U.S. non-cash payments released today. Automated clearinghouse (ACH) payments grew modestly over the same period, and check payments declined at a slower rate than in the past. The 2016 Federal Reserve Payments Study (PDF), which presents 2015 payments data, found that the number of domestic core noncash payments totaled an estimated 144 billion--up 5.3 percent annually from 2012. The total value of these transactions increased 3.4 percent over the same period to nearly $178 trillion.

Read the study.

Payments IPOs Plunge in 2016, but 2017 Could See Some High-Profile Offerings
Digital Transactions | 12.20.16

“IPO windows come in cycles,” Jared Drieling, business intelligence manager at The Strawhecker Group, an Omaha, Neb.-based consulting firm, tells Digital Transactions News. “There’s a lot of different variables.” Common reasons for IPOs include generating funds for business expansion, enabling existing investors to cash out, and debt reduction. Those factors played varying roles in the IPOs of First Data, which raised $2.56 billion, and Square, which raised about $231 million before underwriting expenses. Last year also saw payment card manufacturer CPI Card Group Inc. complete an IPO, and online-payments leader PayPal Holdings Inc. separated from long-time parent company eBay Inc.

Acquirers Confront Their Ethics - And Technology Helps
PaymentsSource | 12.21.16

Jared Drieling, business intelligence manager for The Strawhecker Group consulting firm, says the industry has made strides due to the fact that more payments associations are developing certification programs. He points to the Electronic Transactions Association’s certified payments professional, or CPP, program as one example and how the National Retail Federation now encourages merchants to seek out payments professionals who are certified. Another sign of progress, Drieling says, is that more ISOs are defining themselves as independent software vendors in an effort to become more than a sales agent to merchants, and to provide technologies such as apps and smart terminals to help merchants run other aspects of their businesses.

PayPal Files Copyright Suit Against India's Digital Payment Provider Paytm
eMarketer | 12.21.16

In what many are calling a tactical move to stymie a competitor, PayPal has pushed forward on a copyright suit against Paytm, a leading digital payment service in India. Back in November, US-based ewallet service PayPal lodged the complaint against homegrown digital payments service and ecommerce platform Paytm. (Indian news media first discovered and reported on PayPal's move earlier this week.) In its complaint, PayPal argued that the color scheme of competitor Paytm was too close to its own, noting that the names of both services also started with the letters "pay." PayPal went on to claim that Paytm's logo was "deceptively and confusingly similar" to its own.

CFPB Must Face Operation Choke Point Claims from Nationwide Biweekly Administration, Court Rules
BusinessWire | 12.20.16

Nationwide Biweekly Administration, Inc. (Nationwide) has been allowed to move forward with its Operation Choke Point claims against a federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Operation Choke Point is a U. S. Department of Justice initiative meant to block access to payment systems by targeted businesses and shut them down without a court order. In an order denying CFPB’s Motion to Dismiss, the U. S. District Court in San Francisco on December 13, 2016, ruled that Nationwide’s Operation Choke Point counterclaim against CFPB will not be dismissed, and CFPB’s motion is denied.

The Sound is Annoying, But Chip Reader's Alert Helps Prevent Consumers From Leaving Behind Credit or Debit Cards
Omaha World Herald | 12.21.16

You’ve just shelled out $150 for holiday gifts and because you’ve paid with a credit or debit card that has a microchip, you’re treated to the aggravating Bzzz, Bzzz, Bzzz of the chip card reader, a reminder to remove your card from the payment terminal when the transaction is complete. As chip cards gain wider embrace this holiday season, some shoppers using them say the alerts at the end of a transaction make them feel as if they’ve done something wrong and they’re being scolded. Others compare alerts to the sound of a fire drill, store alarm or a flock of geese honking overhead.

Bank Overdraft Charges Cost Customers $11.6 Billion A Year, Study Finds
Forbes | 12.20.16

Overdraft charges may not top the list of features you inspect carefully when you choose a bank, but they probably should be, at least according to new data from a study out this week. What started as a courtesy designed to help bank customers cover withdrawals even when they lack sufficient funds has ballooned into a cottage industry for American banks. The largest U.S. banks (those with assets exceeding $1 billion) charged $11.6 billion in overdraft charges and insufficient fund fees in 2015, according to a report released today by the Pew Charitable Trusts. These types of charges on deposit accounts have more than doubled over the past 30 years.

Why Visa, Mastercard Are More Attractive, Plus Jim Cramer's Take
TheStreet | 12.21.16

The credit card payment business is looking very promising over the short, long and very long haul. Credit card debt is widely expected to set a new record high in the U.S. by the first quarter, the worldwide spread of smartphones has proved to be a boost to credit card use and the cashless society has never looked more inevitable. It's all especially good news for Visa and Mastercard. They dominate the industry with about 50% and 30% of the business globally, respectively. They also present investors one of the best buying opportunities in perhaps a year.

Retailers Beware: More Than Half of Consumers Would Return to Using Cash Payments at Checkout If Merchant Data Breach Reported
PR Newswire | 12.19.16

Thales, a leader in critical information systems, cyber-security and data protection, today announced the results of its survey of Americans' holiday shopping behavior and potential reactions to a retailer breach. The survey revealed more than half of consumers believe they would change their purchasing behavior at a retailer if they knew its systems had been hacked and credit card data stolen. Fifty-five percent of U.S. consumers would return to cash payments at checkout and 20 percent would take their shopping elsewhere.

Alibaba Faces Growing Pressure Over Counterfeit Goods
The New York Times | 12.22.16

Alibaba has a fakes problem. On Wednesday, American trade officials said that they had added Taobao, the Alibaba Group’s sprawling online shopping bazaar in China, to their list of the world’s most notorious markets for counterfeit goods. The addition — an embarrassing setback four years after Alibaba successfully lobbied American officials to drop the platform from the list — comes as the owners of brands increasingly complain about the proliferation of fakes on the company’s sales platforms.

Today in Retail: Retailers expect last-minute Christmas

RetailWeek | 12.22.16

There’s only one thing we can talk about in Today In Retail – Christmas trading. Feedback from the industry suggests that once again we will have a last-minute Christmas.Shoppers are leaving it later than ever this year and some will still be picking up presents as late as Christmas Eve. Grocers are expecting tomorrow to be the day that we all rush to our local supermarket to grab our turkey and sprouts. It’s a similar story in other sectors with Ann Summers managing director Vanessa Gold also expecting Friday to be their busiest shopping day.

The Coming Millennial Fintech Crisis
PYMNTS | 12.19.16

It’s a fact. While they enjoy many FinTech innovations, most millennials don’t have a snowball’s chance of earning more than their parents — ever. How big the income gap between those 70 million people and their parents depends on a few things, including how well-heeled their parents are. Not surprisingly, hardest hit are the kids born to middle and lower middle-income families — so, roughly 70 percent of the U.S. population. Stop and think about that for a minute.

European Commission Paves Way for FinTech Growth in 2017
LTP | 12.21.16

Last month, the European Commission established a Financial Technology Task Force to “help FinTech innovation reach its full potential in Europe” in 2017. Alongside this, the commission also launched their Start-up and Scale-up Initiative that aims to “give Europe’s many innovative entrepreneurs every opportunity to become world-leading companies.” Is it a coincidence that the Fintech Task Force (FTTT) and entrepreneurial initiative have been launched by the European Commission at the same time?  In a word, no.

Apple Pay Adds Support for New Chinese Banks and Credit Unions (Update: U.S. Banks Too)
9to5Mac | 12.20.16

Apple updated its list of banks, credit unions and cards that offer Apple Pay to add 14 new Chinese institutions that now support the service. While Apple originally launched Apple Pay in China last February with a handful of partners, it’s been slowly adding support for more banks and credit unions in recent months, much the same way the company has rolled out the service gradually in other markets. Apple also added 30 more U.S. banks and credit unions for Apple Pay today.

Hackers Have Stolen Millions Of Dollars In Bitcoin - Using Only Phone Numbers
Forbes | 12.20.16

Just after midnight on August 11, self-professed night owl Jered Kenna was working at home in Medellin, Colombia, when he was notified the passwords had been reset on two of his email addresses. He tried to set up new passwords himself by prompting the email service to send him text messages containing a code — but they never arrived. “So I called the company to make sure I hadn’t forgotten to pay my phone bill, and they said, you don’t have a phone with us. You transferred your phone away to another company,” he says. A hacker had faked his identity and transferred his phone number from T-Mobile to a carrier called Bandwidth that was linked to a Google Voice account in the hacker’s possession.

Goldman, JPMorgan to Invest in Blockchain Startup Axoni
Reuters | 12.21.16

Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co and a group of other financial institutions including inter-dealer broker ICAP Plc's venture arm are finalizing an investment in blockchain startup Axoni, people familiar with the deal said this week. The investment will be in a range of $15 million to $20 million, one of the people said. It is expected to be announced this week, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

New York City Brings Smartphone Payments to Metered Parking
TechCrunch | 12.20.16

Starting this week, metered parking spots in midtown Manhattan are going mobile with a new system that lets drivers pay via smartphone. The new ParkNYC app is tied to a car’s license plate number, working along the lines of an EZPass. Drivers enter their parking zone and the amount of time they’re parking and it goes to work deducting money from the account. Drivers can add parking time remotely via the app to avoid a ticket.

Contactless Clothing: Making your Festive Sales Much Easier
Card-Cutters | 12.21.16

The festive buying period has arrived which means more and more of us will be heading out to the highstreets to purchase the great gifts, fancy food and delectable drink needed to make Christmas and New Year the most wonderful time of the year. Like with any major sales period though, this can lead to long queues and very busy shop floors. The knock-on effects can mean frustrations for you as the customer, as you may have to wait longer and/or manoeuvre your way through the crowds, but also businesses who will need to work extra hard to manage the situation.This need not necessarily be the case though; Card Cutters have come up with a solution to make this festive shopping experience much easier for everyone concerned – our prototype contactless clothing.

Breach Epidemic Requires Next-Gen Vetting of Payment Vendors
PayThink | 12.19.16

There’s a lot of news lately about the “hidden” risks of third-party data breaches in retail, banking and finance, and even tech companies such as Google. Third-party security problems are now a factor in more than 60% of all data breaches, according to a recent study. Many companies aren’t concerned or don’t realize the risk until it happens to them, although the list of merchants hit with payment-data breaches grows all the time. A third-party payments solution needs to protect your customers’ payment data, reduce the scope of your liability in case of a breach, and help you develop a more proactive security mindset.

New York Rewriting Cybersecurity Rules After Banker Pushback
BTN | 12.22.16

New York's Department of Financial Services has decided to rethink its controversial cybersecurity regulation just a couple of weeks before it was to take effect. The department says it will publish revised rules Dec. 28 that will take effect March 1. "The delay is a positive step and clear signal that DFS wants to get it right," said Craig A. Newman, a partner with Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler and chair of the firm's privacy and data security practice group. "The stakes are high given New York's global prominence in the financial community and the fact that other regulators have already sat up and taken notice."

New "Alice" Malware Drains All Cash from ATMs
SecurityWeek | 12.21.16

Dubbed Alice, the malware is the most stripped down ATM threat seen to date. The malware has no information stealing capabilities and can’t even be controlled via the ATM’s numeric keypad. Initially discovered in November 2016, Alice is believed to have been around since 2014, and Trend Micro says that it is only the eighth ATM malware family seen to date, although such threats have been around for over nine years.

California Measure: A Glimmer of Hope for Legal Pot Banking
American Banker | 12.20.16

Now that California will have significant regulation of both its medical and adult use cannabis industries under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act and Proposition 64 (the Adult Use of Marijuana Act), respectively, questions are turning to what will happen with California cannabis banking. It's hugely important that cannabis businesses in the nation's largest state be able to secure bank accounts (at a minimum). But will they be able to given the federal illegality of cannabis?

Report: $3-5M in Ad Fraud Daily from ‘Methbot’
Krebs on Security | 12.20.16

New research suggests that an elaborate cybercrime ring is responsible for stealing between $3 million and $5 million worth of revenue from online publishers and video advertising networks each day. Experts say the scam relies on a vast network of cloaked Internet addresses, rented data centers, phony Web sites and fake users made to look like real people watching short ad segments online. Online advertising fraud is a $7 billion a year problem, according to AdWeek.

Online Bank Fraud Mastermind Failed to Cover Tracks
Bank Info Security | 12.21.16

Memo to would-be cybercriminals: Want to move stolen money internationally to bank accounts that you control? Need to route funds to a few money mules to get it laundered? Don't do it from a system tied to an IP address registered to your home. That's one obvious takeaway from the case of Tomasz Skowron, 29, who British police connected to £840,000 ($1 million) in online banking fraud that targeted organizations around the world, perpetrated with the help of malware.

CFPB Acts Against Deceptive Pawn Companies
PYMNTS | 12.20.16

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced Monday (Dec. 19) that it took action against four Virginia pawnbrokers for what it said was deceptive practices in terms of the actual annual costs of loans. In a press release, the CFPB said it filed lawsuits in federal court alleging the four companies broke the law by misstating the charges associated with pawn loans. The CFPB wants the companies to stop their illegal lawsuits and wants restitutions for defrauding consumers as well as to impose penalties on the four companies. 

U.S. Economic Growth Revised Up to 3.5% Pace in Third Quarter
Bloomberg | 12.22.16

The U.S. economy expanded more than previously reported last quarter on bigger contributions from a range of factors including services spending, intellectual property and construction by state and local governments. Gross domestic product rose at a 3.5 percent annualized rate in the three months ended in September, compared with a prior estimate of 3.2 percent, Commerce Department figures showed Thursday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 3.3 percent gain.

U.S. economy's strong growth isn't expected to last
Los Angeles Times | 12.22.16

The U.S. economy grew at a 3.5% annual rate in the July-through-September quarter, the fastest pace in two years and more than the government had previously estimated. But the growth spurt isn't expected to last. The gain in the gross domestic product, the economy's total output of goods and services, came from added strength in consumer spending, business investment and the government sector, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The government had previously estimated last quarter's annual growth rate at 3.2%.

79% of Americans Now Show Online, But It's Cost More Than Convenience That Sways Them
TechCrunch | 12.20.16

Eight in 10 Americans are now shopping online, according to a new study from Pew Research out this morning. That’s 79 percent of U.S. consumers who shop on the web or their phones, up from just 22 percent back in 2000. Over half (51 percent) have also bought something from their mobile phone, the study found, and 15 percent purchased after clicking through on a link shared on social media. While the study’s main focus is to detail how many shop online, where, how often, and using which platforms, what’s more interesting is how it teases out the answers as to why.

Lloyds Buys Bank of America’s Credit Card Unit MBNA for $2.4 Billion
The Wall Street Journal | 12.20.16

Lloyds Banking Group PLC said Tuesday it is buying Bank of America Corp.’s U.K. credit-card business MBNA Ltd., for £1.9 billion ($2.35 billion), the British bank’s first major acquisition since its bailout during the financial crisis. Lloyds, which is still partly owned by the U.K. government, has been trying to expand its credit-card business as it looks to diversify away from its main mortgage business and boost its bottom line.

CBA Cashes in Visa Windfall to Pay Down Software Assets
Finextra | 12.19.16

Commonwealth Bank of Australia is selling its remaining stake in Visa Inc for $439 million and using the windfall to write off $275 million in software spending on digital and direct banking channels. CBA's sale of its remaining 49% stake in Visa results in a $278m after-tax gain, effectively wiping out a $275 million above-the-line hit in its forthcoming 2016 results statement through a "one-off acceleration of amortization on certain capitalized software assets".

CMA Finds Competition Concerns With Cashpoint Merger
Gov.UK | 12.20.16

Diebold Incorporated (Diebold) is a US company and provider of financial self-service (FSS) products including automatic teller machines (ATMs - also referred to as cashpoints). Wincor Nixdorf (Wincor) is a German company which also provides FSS products including ATMs. Diebold acquired Wincor on 16 August 2016 with the new company renamed Diebold Nixdorf, Incorporated. A group of independent panel members at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally found that the merger risks a substantial lessening of competition (SLC) in the market for the supply of customer-operated ATMs in the UK.

Shift4 and InnQuest Software Introduce Joint EMV Solution for the Hotel and Lodging Industry
Shift4 | 12.20.16

Payment gateway provider Shift4 Corporation and InnQuest Software Corporation, developer of property management software, today announced the general availability of their joint EMV-certified solution for hoteliers. “We are pleased to work with InnQuest Software to provide hoteliers with a solution that fits EMV into their current operations, rather than requiring them to adjust their infrastructure and business practices. In addition to the improved card verification that EMV brings to physical points of sale, this integration with InnQuest’s roomMaster includes Shift4’s tokenization and point-to-point encryption technologies, helping keep sensitive cardholder data out of the merchant’s payment processing environment.”

Elan Teams with PrimeWay Federal Credit Union to Provide Members the Latest Credit Card Products and Services
BusinessWire | 12.20.16

Elan Financial Services, a leading credit card services provider, has entered into an agreement with PrimeWay Federal Credit Union, a credit union serving the greater Houston area, to provide its members with a suite of innovative credit card products and services. The new strategic alliance will allow PrimeWay to draw on Elan’s extensive credit card expertise and large support structure to provide the latest in card services, including product development, regulatory compliance and customer service.

North American Cannabis Holdings and Alternet Systems Enter Cannabis Retail Payment System Sector Anticipated To Ring $50 Billion In Sales By 2026
PR Newswire | 12.20.16

North American Cannabis Systems, Inc. announced executing an agreement with Alternet Systems, Inc. (ALYI) whereby the two Companies will combine resources and efforts to commercialize and launch a retail payment system for the cannabis sector.  Forbes anticipates legal cannabis sales to ring nearly $7 billion in sales in 2016.  A recent report from Bloomberg indicates legal cannabis annual sales will reach $50 billion in the next ten years.

Point of Sale Platform Appetize Closes $20MM Investment from Shamrock Capital Advisors and Oak View Group
BusinessWire | 12.20.16

Appetize, the next-generation Point of Sale (POS) platform, announced that it has raised over $20 million in funding led by Los Angeles-based private equity fund, Shamrock Capital Advisors. Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff’s Oak View Group participated in the round, along with follow-on capital from several current investors. Shamrock Partners Andy Howard and Alan Resnikoff join Appetize’s board and Tim Leiweke joins as a board observer.

CardConnect Announces Beta Launch of Bolt P2PE, New Solution for Terminal Integrations
CardConnect | 12.19.16

CardConnect, a leader in payment processing, today announced the beta release of Bolt P2PE, its new cloud-based API terminal integration solution. Bolt P2PE allows software companies to integrate their applications with PCI-validated point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and EMV devices for card-present transactions.The new solution from CardConnect is compatible with all operating systems, browsers and frameworks.

JetPay Corporation to Provide Advanced Payment Solutions to Golf Courses Nationwide
MarketWired | 12.20.16

JetPay Corporation, a leading provider of debit and credit card processing services, payroll and human capital management services, and prepaid card services, announced that GolfNow will integrate JetPay's payment solutions as an option for its partner golf facilities throughout the United States. The partnership will allow golf courses utilizing GolfNow's point-of-sale software to access JetPay's fast, highly secure, payment platform with industry-leading response and uptimes.

POS Portal Announces P2PE Certification
PRWeb | 12.22.16

POS Portal, the nation’s leading distributor of secure payment devices, announced today that the PCI Security Standards Council has listed POS Portal as a Point-to-Point Encryption Version 2 Key Injection Facility. As a component provider, POS Portal provides logistics and distribution of Secure Payment Devices, this new validation means that POS Portal can now offer Solution Providers an immediate way to streamline their operations and help their merchant clients to achieve PCI DSS compliance. With two Key Injection Facilities, POS Portal deploys devices direct to businesses nationwide.

Evertec Selects Item Processing Solutions from CheckAlt 
CU Insight | 12.21.16

CheckAlt, a leading provider of treasury solutions and lockbox processing to financial institutions and corporate customers in the United States, announced it has been selected by Evertec, Inc. to provide Item Processing solutions. CheckAlt delivers fast, efficient processing from all capture points (central, branch, remote, ATM and mobile) and backs it up with world-class support. Image capture solution consolidates items with advanced character recognition software ensures accurate check-to-image translation prior to data transfer.

Ed Garcia Promoted to Chief Operating Officer of Pivotal Payments
Pivotal Payments| 12.19.16

Pivotal Payments, a leading provider of technology-driven global payment processing solutions, announced it has promoted Edward (Ed) Garcia to serve as Chief Operating Officer (COO). In this newly created role, Garcia will assume responsibility for all Operations functions including the company's contact center, loyalty and retention, risk management and corporate project management. Garcia joined Pivotal Payments in 2015 as Senior Vice-President, Operations.

FNTI Named a Leading Software and Technology Provider by Food Logistics for Second Straight Year
FTNI | 12.20.16

Financial Transmission Network, Inc. (FTNI), a leading provider of truly integrated receivables and straight through processing solutions, announced that Food Logistics has named FTNI to its 2016 FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers list. 2016 marks the second consecutive year FTNI has been recognized in the annual FL100+ listing, originally making its debut in 2015.

EFTA Issues White Paper Focusing on Benefits, Challenges of Implementing User Authentication in Payments

Yahoo! Finance | 12.22.16

The Electronic Funds Transfer Association (EFTA), which works to advance electronic payments and commerce through responsible federal government relations and member education, today released its final white paper in a three-part series on “User Authentication,” which details the benefits and challenges of utilizing user authentication as a component of an overall security strategy.

Coalfire Announces Acquisition of Cybersecurity Leader, Veris Group
BusinessWire | 12.21.16

Coalfire, a leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services, announced that it has acquired Veris Group, a highly-regarded provider of cyber risk advisory, compliance assessment, technical testing, and engineering services since its inception in 2005. The acquisition further strengthens Coalfire’s leading position in the cybersecurity market and enhances Coalfire’s breadth and depth of services and industry knowledge in commercial markets and the public sector.

Hungary's National Bank to Launch Instant Payments Through Mobile Phone Numbers
NFC World | 12.21.16

A proposal from Hungary’s central bank Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB) for the launch of an instant payments service that will allow consumers to initiate a payment using only the mobile phone number of the recipient, with transactions completed “in a matter of seconds”, has been approved by the country’s Financial Stability Board. “Based on this system, interoperable payment solutions may be established which may widely support the possibility of electronic payments in all payment situations today, mainly characterised by the use of cash,” MNB says.

Baidu and KFC’s new smart restaurant suggests what to order based on your face

TechCrunch | 12.23.16

Baidu is demonstrating some of its most recent tech advancements in novel ways, including a partnership with KFC China (yes, the fried chicken KFC). The search giant sometimes referred to as the ‘Google of China’ partnered with KFC to open a new “smart restaurant” in Beijing, which employs facial recognition to make recommendations about what customers might order, based on factors like their age, gender and facial expression.

BillGO Selects GlobalOnePay to Manage In-App Billing
Nasdaq | 12.20.16

GlobalOnePay, a leading provider of omni-channel payment processing technologies and merchant services announced today it has partnered with BillGO, an intelligent bill-pay app which lets customers pay and manage all their bills, including rent. Since launching nationally in late October, BillGO has seen a 65% jump in customers signing up to use the app. GlobalOnePay's advanced payment gateway will handle the automated subscription billing process, helping BillGO continue to grow its user base while reducing time and cost associated with managing accounts.

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